Holidaymakers due to fly from Belfast International Airport to Spain are caught up in chaos sparked by coronavirus

HOLIDAYMAKERS from Northern Ireland were this afternoon understood to be disembarking from a plane after sitting on a runway for several hours after being caught up in chaos sparked by coronavirus.

Dozens of people had been about to set off from Belfast International Airport to the Canary Islands but the easyJet flight did not leave at the scheduled time.

Earlier, Jet2 planes heading to Spain had been turned around in mid-air as the airline cancelled all flights to the mainland, Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands because of coronavirus.

Confirmed cases in Spain have risen by 1,500 in 24 hours and thousands of people have been placed in lockdown.

The country’s death toll has reached 120 and it is set to enter a two-week state of emergency.

Jet2 said the health and safety of its customers was its top priority.

The airline flies to destinations including Alicante, Malaga and Lanzarote from nine UK airports.

It said it decided to cancel flights after Spanish authorities ordered bars, restaurants, shops and activities to close.

“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision,” an airline spokesperson added.

“This is a fast-moving and complex situation and we are reviewing our programme as a matter of urgency, so that we can fly customers back to the UK.”

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